I’m no expert at understanding the PR industry, but here’s my perspective on how things work with local bloggers these days.
There are companies that build directories of blogs around topics. This includes not just the topic but the contact info of the people behind the blogs. PR firms can then buy access to these directories. For example, The Deets may be categorized as a Minneapolis blog so PR firms looking to reach Minneapolis based bloggers could buy a list of Minneapolis based bloggers. (Of course, they could also read local blogs themselves, but that would involve work related work.)
Then things like this happen:
An email arrives in my inbox from a PR firm that specializes in “Public Relations 2.0” which apparently means emailing bloggers about PR campaigns.
This email is sent on behalf of a second PR firm who specializes is creating “powerful emotional connections” with people by outsourcing their connecting to other PR firms. I’d deep-link to the context of that quote but their site is built entirely in Flash (puke).
As you might expect, this setup seems to be pretty darn spammy to me.
What was this email about? A “viral” video campaign created by PR firm #2 is being, um, viralized or something by PR firm #1. This video is so viral that the PR firm is emailing local bloggers to get them to blog about it. This video must be pretty remarkable, eh?
I checked out the video. Sadly, the video attempts to stage a fake news event. When I see stuff like this I lose trust in the PR company behind the fake viral video and the company that hired the PR firm and approved the campaign.
Digging into this a bit, here is the fake YouTube account’s user info:
So they set up a new account. Red flag for a fake account. And no avatar. And a number in the account (they could have at least gone with 612 or 55401, right?)
And the one video the account has . . .
. . . was uploaded the same day the account was created.
Two days after the “viral” video didn’t go viral was when I received the PR tip about the awesomeness I had somehow missed.
Check out the description included with the video:
Shot this when I was shopping on Nicollet Mall in MPLS. Giant vines on the IDS Tower!! Whaaa??….The story from the news. I was about a block away until the cops put up the barriers.
No, this wasn’t on the news. No, there were no cops and there were no barriers.
Stunts can be a fun way to get attention. Lying to people to get them to pay attention is idiotic. “PR 2.0” messages from companies like this boil down to: “We lied to you to get you to pay attention, but now believe us when we tell you what we’d like you to hear.”
Is lying to people really the best way to create “powerful emotional connections” in a “PR 2.0” world? Apparently, it worked on me. The emotional connection made through lying to me was strong enough to justify this post.
Admittedly, I may not understand all of the benefits of being lied to in this fashion. Perhaps someone better versed in the intricacies of PR 2.0 can explain to me how building relationships through lying is a winning strategy?